The subject and object of stylistics

The subject of stylistics can be outlined as the study of the nature, functions and structure of stylistic devices, on the one hand, and, on the other, the study of each style of language as classified, its aim, its structure, its characteristic features and the effect it produces,  as well as its interrelation with other styles of language. The task we set before ourselves is to make an attempt to single out such, problems as are typically stylistic and cannot be treated in any other branch of linguistic science.

English language as being divided into three main layers: the literary layer, the neutral layer and the colloquial layer. The literary and the colloquial layers contain a number of subgroups each of which has a property it shares with all the subgroups within the layer. This common property, which unites the different groups of words within the layer may be called  its aspect. The

aspect of the literary layer is its markedly bookish character. It is this that makes the layer more or less stable. The aspect of the colloquial layer of words is its lively spoken character. It is this that makes it unstable, fleeting.

The aspect of the neutral layer is its universal character. That means it is unrestricted in its use. It can be employed in all styles of language and in all spheres of human activity. The literary layer of words consists of groups accepted as legitimate members of the English vocabulary. They have no local or dialectal character. The colloquial layer of words as qualified in most English or American dictionaries is not infrequently limited to a definite language community or confine to a special locality where it circulates.

There are 2 basic objects of stylistics:
– special linguistic means (stylistic devices and expressive means) which secure the desirable effect of the utterance;
– certain types of texts “discourse” which due to the choice and arrangement of the language are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of communication (functional styles).

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